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Aero To Be Unavailable To Pirates 630

Posted by Zonk
from the no-shiny-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Users thinking of pirating the next version of Windows may have a surprise in store: no Aero for you. The upcoming Microsoft OS will run a check to ensure the copy was legally purchased. If it comes up short, the shiniest part of the OS will not be available." From the article: "At first an optional program, the piracy check eventually became mandatory for many types of Windows XP downloads, but was not required to run any aspect of the operating system itself. Microsoft has identified reducing piracy as a key way for the company to grow its sales of Windows, which is already used on more than 90 percent of personal computers. But it's not just pirates who will be blocked from Windows' fanciest graphics. The Aero display also won't be available to those who buy Windows Vista Basic, the low-end consumer version of the operating system."
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Aero To Be Unavailable To Pirates

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:26AM (#15120285) Journal
    I guess this will merely separate the real pirates from the need pirates.

    I'm not going to hide anything, I pirated Matlab and Mathematica in college. But I wasn't selling them or making a profit off them, I was simply installing old versions of them so that I could get my homework done without having to go to campus and be restricted by lab hours. I have since uninstalled them and don't feel wrong for using them to accomplish assignments.

    I think there are a lot of pirates here in America and overseas that just want a functioning OS on which they can install their games and quicken and other such Win32 software. Even I would prefer a Windows "Lite" over Windows with Aero. The last thing I want is some fancy pants CPU hog with Rosie O'Donnel sized memory footprints running around in the background!

    I would really like to see a free Windows OS "Core" kernal system that doesn't have any features but can be downloaded and installed easily. You could purchase more and more expansions or just buy the loaded omgwtfbbq$999 version of Windows right off the bat with everything from Office Suite Complex SP8 to Windows Media Player with more skins than an 18th century fur trader.

    The real pirates are going to try everything to be able to crack and sell these advanced copies. They'll do it regardless of what features Windows has. There's already speculation on how to do it [com.com].

    If you're making one version more secure than another, you're simply admitting that you're not too concerned about the minimal package being pirated but you cannot afford to have Aero pirated. I think that says a lot about how you really view the core operating system and how it's becoming recognized more and more as a necessary tool and not some software bonus. Many software models have developed into being very successful by offering a "Lite" version of the software product for free and encouraging an upgrade to more features by buying a full fledged license from the homepage. The very piece of software I'm using right now to author and spellcheck this post (Textpad) is marketed in this manner.

    So I welcome this new news that only the rich, powerful & non-collegiate will have Aero. Let them have their bells and whistles!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:34AM (#15120365)
      Excellent post, sir. My only objection: I'm pretty sure there's a rule against using "Rosie O'Donnel" and "running around" in the same sentence.
    • It's a fantastic program, I think I've sold 4 different clients on it.

      There's a whole slew of consultants in my field who always beg me to get JDeveloper up and running in their dev environments and I always recoil in horror and start asking pointed questions of "Why?"
      Huge footprint, doesn't play well with the products I develop for, and has crashed more than once. Give me the simple elegance of TextPad any day of the week; I can program my own debugging lines and watches into it if I need them. -1 offto

    • by adolfojp (730818) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:57AM (#15120551)
      I would really like to see a free Windows OS "Core" kernal system...
      You can try ReactOS. I know that is not what you want, but it is as close as you can get today. http://www.reactos.org/ [reactos.org]
    • by starm_ (573321) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:10AM (#15120679)
      Hehe, so true,

      MS is shooting itself in the foot in doing that.

      The only reason everyone uses Windows is that everyone uses Windows.

      I use Windows because I want to be compatible with everyone else. Companies write Windows only software and drivers because they want to be compatible with the majority.

      Force a fraction of society to switch to a cheaper alternative, and you will precipitate another big chunk into doing the same.
      • by slashname3 (739398) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:54AM (#15121028)
        Not only that but in order for companies to get the most from their programing dollars they will write their programs for the largest group of users. From the sounds of things that will be those running the stripped down consumer version of windows.

        Microsoft probably won't realize this until after they release the full blown version (sometime in 2015) but by splitting their users in this way most companies will not bother to use the enhanced capabilities of the more expensive OS since only a small percentage of users will have it. Expect to see people continue to use XP for many many years to come since upgrading won't provide any need to have features.
      • by massysett (910130) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:22AM (#15121262) Homepage
        Is MS shooting itself in the foot? Or merely trying to maximize revenue?

        If MS can detect that your Vista is pirated, why not just shut down the Vista altogether? Instead they're just turning off eye candy.

        MS wants money, but on the other hand it must realize that a user on a pirated Vista is better than a user on Linux.

        • But without the "eye candy" is there any reason to pay for the more expensive version of vista? If this actually happens then most programmers won't write anything that uses any of the "eye candy" because most users won't have it and won't see it. Why spend time fiddling with stuff that no one uses?

          It also begs the question of why would anybody let alone a company pay for "eye candy" when that is not needed to get the job done?

          Expect people and companies to continue using XP for the next couple of d
    • by PhYrE2k2 (806396) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:51AM (#15121010)
      The last thing I want is some fancy pants CPU hog with Rosie O'Donnel sized memory footprints running around in the background!

      I'd argue that offloading the graphic generation from the CPU/RAM to a video board and video memory might be a good thing. It could mean a more responsive GUI, less bogged down processor, and a better user experience.

      The real pirates are going to try everything to be able to crack and sell these advanced copies. They'll do it regardless of what features Windows has. There's already speculation on how to do it [com.com].

      Don't make it 1K and you'll be in business. Take Adobe's offerings for example. 1600-2000USD for Production Studio ( http://www.adobe.com/products/productionstudio/mai n.html [adobe.com] ). They're obviously targeting business and TV stations that can afford such a thing. Meanwhile, students and home users looking to have some fun making neat videos are of course going to pirate. Macromedia Studio 8 (Flash and Dreamweaver) - $999USD. The home user wanting to make a cool Web page suffers.

      Pricing always leads to pirating. Make it a pain in the @$$ and offer it for $50 for home users, or sell groups of licenses (4 computers per street address) and most people will buy. Make it $500 and people won't. Windows XP is $200USD, Word in itself is $180USD! It's a question of value. These days the OS costs as much if not more than a new PC!

      Sell high to enterprise, and low to home and small business. Get people hooked on Office, so that if they go to a place of business, they're pre-trained in it. Make it cheap and attainable for home users and few-man office shops.

      If you're making one version more secure than another, you're simply admitting that you're not too concerned about the minimal package being pirated but you cannot afford to have Aero pirated.

      I don't think this is it. If an organization is pirating Windows, which is extremely common in businesses, then they'll stand out like a sore thumb as I'm sure the 'basic' version won't be a corporate offering. It's like a call-home. The 'Microsoft Police' come in and will very simply see what computers look crappy and which don't. You know where the licenses are right away. You can't assume a license is there, as you'll see it. As a user in a University, you'll see right away which PCs are legit.

      -M
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:21AM (#15121249)
      If you're making one version more secure than another, you're simply admitting that you're not too concerned about the minimal package being pirated but you cannot afford to have Aero pirated. I think that says a lot about how you really view the core operating system and how it's becoming recognized more and more as a necessary tool and not some software bonus. Many software models have developed into being very successful by offering a "Lite" version of the software product for free and encouraging an upgrade to more features by buying a full fledged license from the homepage.

      It's an interesting way of looking at this. But I would be surprised if that is ENTIRELY the intent. Why? Commoditization.

      Microsoft seems to be doing a lot to try and avoid the perception that an OS is a commodity. A hardware platform that became a commodity environment meant IBM lost control of the market. And that is the real threat from the likes of Linux, *BSD, etc. The last thing Microsoft wants is for a perception that the entire platform - hardware and OS - is immaterial or at least a very distant second to an application. Remember that this was the mantra Netscape liked to push before Microsoft performed its historical turn-on-a-dime strategy shift. And one might even note that the vast majority of consumers are almost to this point anyway (how many average users really understand the implications of an OS).

      Now - its entirely possible that despite Microsoft's best efforts, the market is pushing in that direction anyway. This may be a slight capitulation to this kind of pressure. But I would not expect Microsoft to do anything that would drive home the commodity perception until well after it has already taken hold of the market. I doubt the market is at that point yet.

      If anything, this is simply part of Microsoft's attempt to avoid their OS becoming a commodity. It started with WinXP. Before then, who really cared about "piracy"? After all, the major players (OEMs, business, etc.) already pay. The "Linux Refund Day" exercise showed what a consumer Windows license is worth. Up to a certain point in history, accepting "piracy" helped ensure Windows continued to proliferate as a common environment while not getting in the way of paying customers. Introducing rudimentary copy protection didn't happen until commodity OS platforms started to really gain attention. And even then, it didn't really do much to stem "piracy". But it did drive home the point that Windows wasn't a freebie - keeping it out of the same mental pigeon-hole IT managers stick "freeware" commodity platforms... specifically Linux.

      Aero is not an important component. But it is the more visceral piece - it's prominant in screenshots and marketing. Linking copy protection to this component continues to push the message that Windows is something special. And if for some reason a paying customer runs afoul of that copy protection and Aero shuts down, they will likely still be able to limp along doing their important activities until the situation can be resolved - perhaps only annoying them instead of really upsetting them and producing more fodder for various switcher campaigns.
  • by windowpain (211052) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:26AM (#15120289) Journal
    Every majoy piece of software is going "phone home" from here on out.
    • It's a good solution, seriously. Think about it. Just don't allow the thing to dial home. Unplug it from the net. Run your games or uber-business apps on it, and have a $300 Linux box for web/email. It's an optimal solution even today.

      • by goombah99 (560566) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:53AM (#15120512)
        in the future more and more things wil be tied to the web. Office applications like writely and ajaxWrite. Photo librarys. Maybe even your music and TV. You won't want to unplug to run the OS.

        On the otherhand I like this solution to piracy. If it detects a piarate copy it hobbles the OS but does not shut it down. That makes it safe to use in case it glitches on you and mis-detects it's lic status.

        I'd take it one step further and change the mouse to an oversized hot pink X with a desktop that says "Liscence key not valid". Anyone seeing that on someone elses computer would know it was stolen and there might be social pressure to pay for what you can steal.
        • I'd take it one step further and change the mouse to an oversized hot pink X with a desktop that says "Liscence key not valid". Anyone seeing that on someone elses computer would know it was stolen and there might be social pressure to pay for what you can steal.

          But they don't want that. Microsoft has never really tried to cut off illegal users in all these years, although it could've done so at any point. They were content with that fact that piracy made their products spread and made them a de factor stan
      • I would guess that we're not too far off from it refusing to run if it can't make that call home. Then unplugging it doesn't do much. Heck even today I firewall off apps that have no obvious need to connect to the net. Nero? Thumbsplus? ANY media player? There's no way I'm gonna let them through the firewall.
        • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:34AM (#15120859)
          Jack Valenti, one time head of the Motion Picture Association of America, once said:

          Just because technology lets you do something doesn't mean you should.

          He was talking about illegal copying of DVDs, of course ... but the comment is still valid in this context. Just because you can easily connect a user's copy of your software to your servers doesn't mean you should.

          I know, I know ... Jack Valenti. But he did have a point.
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:27AM (#15120292) Homepage Journal

    FTA: With the new operating system, Microsoft is offering plenty of new graphics tricks, including translucent windows, animated flips between open programs and "live icons" that show a graphical representation of the file in question.

    Many 'pirate' copies currently run on less-than-optimal hardware, yes? Microsoft's plans will make this 'pirate edition' less of a resource hog so for many it actually sounds like a pretty good upgrade over the legit version.
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Disavian (611780) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:27AM (#15120293) Homepage
    Working validation crack in 3, 2, 1...
    • You stole the post right outta my brain, and right off the keyboards of every l33t3r out there who fancies a go at the encryption system.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:27AM (#15120302) Homepage Journal
    I want to write a Linux program that runs a series of invasive system checks to make sure you didn't pay for it.
  • by duerra (684053) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:28AM (#15120305) Homepage
    Somebody please correct me if I have been mistaken.

    I understand and respect Microsoft wanting to be able to ensure that as many copies of their software is legit as possible, but from what I understand, Vista is going to *require* signed drivers for it to work, which I would also assume plays some part in the Windows Genuine Advantage program. I would assume that it costs money and requires licensing and such to get a driver signed. Doesn't this qualify as a form of extortion and abuse of Microsoft's monopoly? By requiring signed drivers, they're effectively forcing everybody to pay them an "extortion fee" in order for other companies to be able to make hardware for users to run their systems. Doesn't this present problems for Microsoft? How can they be allowed to do this, considering their monopoly status?

    I really don't like the idea of Microsoft forcing me into using signed drivers and such in order to take advantage of the software I legally purchased. There's countless reasons for this, but I would think that Microsoft's monopoly status alone would be enough to stop them from abusing these sorts of practices.
    • Don't worry, EU will look into that.
    • I only know enough about law to tell you this:

      No one gives a shit about enforcing anti-trust laws in the current administration.

      Sadly, that is not the biggest of our concerns. If we make it to 2009 without nuking someone, I will be happy. We can worry about corporations raping the public after that.
    • by dioscaido (541037) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:42AM (#15120427)
      While it's great to suspect some extortion/conspiracy theory, the signed driver requirement is in place so that it'll be much harder for Hacker McPhee to install that driver rootkit on your machine.

      For a legitimate hardware manufacturer it is not difficult at all to get their drivers signed through a certificate authority. This is not done through Microsoft (and is different from their certification programs).

      Here's the text from http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/64bi t/kmsigning.mspx [microsoft.com]:

      To obtain a PIC, a publisher must first obtain a VeriSign Class 3 Commercial Software Publisher Certificate. Registration with Verisign results in establishing a credential that can be used to establish a Microsoft Windows Quality Online Services (Winqual) account. The publisher can then use that certificate to authenticate itself to Microsoft. If the certificate is valid, Microsoft issues a PIC.
      A publisher typically completes the authentication process once a year through the Winqual Web site. The process is completed over a channel that is protected by the secure sockets layer (SSL). Figure 1 illustrates the process of obtaining a PIC. For more information about Winqual, see "Resources" at the end of this paper.

      Figure 1. Obtaining a PIC
      Important: The process of obtaining a PIC is separate from the Windows Logo Program submission process. The PIC signing capability does not replace the WHQL program. Microsoft encourages publishers to use the WHQL programs such as the Logo and Driver Reliability Signing programs, whenever possible. The primary purpose of the PIC program is to introduce identity into the kernel-mode and driver ecosystem, in cases where participation in the WHQL program might not be suitable. The PIC signing capability does not require the publisher to pass certain Windows Logo Program testing requirements associated with WHQL.
      • "While it's great to suspect some extortion/conspiracy theory, the signed driver requirement is in place so that it'll be much harder for Hacker McPhee to install that driver rootkit on your machine."

        Yes, I'm sure that's what they told you. Oceania has always been at war and all that shizz, you know?

        Hackers will find ways to bypass these restrictions easily enough. Security holes (old AND new) will allow dishonest people to do whatever they want anyway.

        That's not even counting on the possibility of hackers getting their spyware signed. Remember when people managed to get keys signed in Microsoft's name? You REALLY trust Verisign with this? I sure don't.
      • by slashnik (181800) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:05AM (#15120621)
        While it's great to suspect some extortion/conspiracy theory, the signed driver requirement is in place so that it'll be much harder for Hacker McPhee to install that driver rootkit on your machine.

        But it won't do anything to stop Hacker McSony
      • by sootman (158191) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:14AM (#15120714) Homepage Journal
        I take pretty good care of my gear. I'm not too concerned about Hacker McPhee. I've not had a virus in over 8 years despite running Windows without A/V protection. It's outfits like Sony--"legitimate manufacturers"--that worry me more these days.
        • No kidding! Like yourself I have been very careful about exposing my PC and (touch wood) have not been hit by a virus for about the same amount of time as yourself. I just bought a brand new Dell and I can't believe the garbage that is installed. It took me an hour just to uninstall and delete the garbage software I did not want! The hackers are not the problem (ok they are), but software companies are just as much of a problem.
      • That certificate costs several thousand dollars. There will likely be additional fees from Microsoft.

        What this means is that low-volume hardware becomes instantly more expensive, and amateur driver developers are locked out. You won't even be loading a test driver into your system without getting it signed. That should make driver dev a whole lot of fun.

        What do you get out of this? Why, DRM, and nothing else, of course.

        This is yet another reason that I *must* avoid Vista in my organization. Some of the
    • by misleb (129952) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:19AM (#15120759)
      My problem with requiring signed drivers is that you won't be able to run "beta" versions of drivers to potentially fix problems with the release version. I've had to do this on more than one occasion and I'm not even a regular Windows user. Drivers aren't signed until they are tested and certified by Microsoft, right?

      -matthew
      • by throx (42621) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:32AM (#15121373) Homepage
        Drivers aren't signed until they are tested and certified by Microsoft, right?

        No, this isn't the case. You can sign drivers yourself if you have a code signing cert from Verisign and have registered with MS to get a cert signed by them. The manditory signing is only on x64 versions too.

        This means "beta" drivers will be signed by their developers and runnable on Vista. The net effect of the code signing is it just raises the bar a little on who can write drivers for the system, and potentially causes headaches for open source drivers like ext2 and winpcap (which is where I see the main problem).
    • If the current beta versions of Vista are anything to go by, the signed driver requirment will not be strictly enforced. In the present builds there is an option in the bootloader (F8 during startup), where you can select "Enable Unsigned Drivers" or something like that.

      The implementation makes sense - it stops lusers from getting rootkitted by running a bad attachments, yet allows those who know what they are doing to bypass the checks.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:29AM (#15120311) Homepage Journal
    Really, thank you. You have now given me the final reason NOT to upgrade.

    As a poster in a previous article said, I'll keep my copy of W2K running as long as I can and when, for whatever reason, it is no longer useful I will devote my time and resources to learning how to use Linux though Apple might come first.

    Thank you Microsoft. Your ineptness will be your undoing.

    I can't wait to see what happens when businesses realize the cost to upgrade to your latest abomination and all the attendant problems that will occur.
    • As a poster in a previous article said, I'll keep my copy of W2K running as long as I can and when, for whatever reason, it is no longer useful I will devote my time and resources to learning how to use Linux though Apple might come first.

      I feel the same way about XP. I have to say, it's been the most stable version of Windows for me so far, and I don't see a real need to change it. Knowing MS, they'll keep supporting it until the last XP programmer contracts Alzheimers and by then I'll have one or more L

    • Very creative. But I bet you don't use Windows now. And I bet you had absolutely no intention of using Windows when Vista is released.

      And besides, if you're a "customer" who only uses software he can pirate, I'm sure MS will really miss having you as a customer.
  • by GroeFaZ (850443) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:31AM (#15120335)
    1) Is Aero relevant to Vista's inner workings, i.e. is it a real limitation to its functionality if missing? If yes, how severe a limitation?

    2) How does Aero differ from numerous attempts at 3D desktops that are already out there? Why will users really miss it?

    3) What are the chances that Aero will stay off-limits to "pirates" for any extended period of time?
    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:53AM (#15120513)
      "2) How does Aero differ from numerous attempts at 3D desktops that are already out there? Why will users really miss it?"

      One of the BFD's about Aero is that apps can be rescaled etc. (Hence all the vector-based stuff going on with the video card.) The idea is that Vista will support 300DPI monitors. I read a story a couple of years ago about how Microsoft and ... oh I want to say it was Viewsonic but I could be wrong ... made a deal to develope a 5,000 pixel wide LCD monitor. The text and icons would still be drawn at a reasonable size, but they'd be a hell of a lot clearer. If these monitors turn into reality *and* they become wide-spread, then Aero will definitely be an important factor with Windows.

      As for Aero's other graphical nicities, well it's hard to say. Everybody here claims they don't want to waste the resources etc, but everybody gets all giggly and bouncy when there's new OSX or KDE screenshots.
      • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:24AM (#15120801)
        One of the BFD's about Aero is that apps can be rescaled etc

        Ok, might as well post this here, even though I have seen tons of people not know anything about it...

        Aero is the 'glass' UI of Explorer and Window Frames, you also get a few functions that are also part of Explorer, like Flip 3D.

        However, the scaleable UI of applications and Windows Vista itself have NOTHING to do with AERO.

        The scaleable UI and the new graphics subsystem and API in Vista is based on WPF (Avalon) and this NEVER turns off, even if your Video card is VGA Only from 1990.

        So everyone please STOP assuming this has anything to do with the Vector composer, the new API replacing GDI+ or any other cool rumor people that know little about Vista want to dig out of the closet.

        Here, check out this great site calle Wikipedia.com, it even will explain this to you. Or people could go to www.microsoft.com and actually read this for themselves.

        (This post is for all the people in this thread, not just the one I am responding too. If you don't know enough about Vista's Graphics and think it is like OSX's, or think the Aero 'Theme' is Avalon or any other confusing thing, either don't worry about it cause you aren't ever planning on using Vista, or if you might or have customers that might, go check it out so you aren't making silly statements.)
    • by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:03AM (#15120605) Homepage Journal
      1) Is Aero relevant to Vista's inner workings, i.e. is it a real limitation to its functionality if missing? If yes, how severe a limitation?

      Aero is just a new graphics engine for Windows Vista. Removing it makes Windows fall back on the current graphics engine used in Windows XP. (Well, presumably a slightly newer version, but you get the idea.) A Linux analogy would be xgl (Aero) versus standard X.

      Essentially the only limitation is that you won't get transparent window title bars and the icons won't be as flashy. So it's hardly a limitation, unless you like your eyecandy. (And some people do.)

      2) How does Aero differ from numerous attempts at 3D desktops that are already out there? Why will users really miss it?

      It's not a 3D desktop, it's a plain 2D desktop that uses 3D acceleration to speed the GUI. Chances are that most people will actually find that using Aero will reduce CPU usage and (potentially) lessens memory usage for the graphics layer, since it offloads much of that work to the GPU.

      Essentially it uses the 3D graphics abilities of the graphics card to handle rendering 2D graphics. This is practically identical to the way OS X and xgl work - both use the 3D acceleration abilities of a graphics card to render 2D graphics.

      As for "will users really miss it" - that's a definite maybe. My dad just spent a good week or so getting xgl running on his desktop to generate Aero-style effects under KDE, so some people want the eye candy. But other people probably won't even notice it's missing. It depends on the user.

      3) What are the chances that Aero will stay off-limits to "pirates" for any extended period of time?

      Slim to nil. :)

      • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:31AM (#15120846)
        Aero is just a new graphics engine for Windows Vista. Removing it makes Windows fall back on the current graphics engine used in Windows XP.

        Ok, NO...

        AERO is the UI Effects of Window Borders and the 'glass' Theme, it is also a part of a few effect in Explorer like Flip3D.

        The Graphic Engine in Windows is WPF/Avalon, and it fully functions even if you have a VGA Card, and it HAS NOTHING to do with the AERO 'THEME'.

        Even with AERO turned off, applicaitons will still use the NEW API that replaces the GDI+ graphics subsystem in WindowsXP, and is NOT dependant on hardware, what so ever.

        If Microsoft disabled the whole new graphics API because of turning off Aero would break the entire OS, not just turn off the shinny window frames.

        Check out www.microsoft.com or msdn.microsoft.com or even freaking wikipedia.com

        Even Google.com, there are some cool articles that explain this in detail and even go as far to explain the Vector Composer that sets the new Graphics subsystem of Vista apart from anything else.
    • 1) Is Aero relevant to Vista's inner workings, i.e. is it a real limitation to its functionality if missing? If yes, how severe a limitation?

      No, and disregard the posts stating otherwise.

      Aero is simply this... The THEME, and because of the Vista capabilities the THEME adds 'glass' Frames to Windows, and also adds a few cute effects to explorer, like the Flip3D.

      As for any loss of functionality, there is none, even if you are running on a 1990 VGA Video card with AERO turned off or disabled. The whole new gra
  • The first thing I do when I install XP is disable Luna and all the graphical tweaks except for show window contents while dragging. XP is nice and snappy and stable when you make it look like 95!

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7022/1036/1600/ uptime.0.jpg [blogger.com]
    • I have more than tripled that uptime on Windows XP without disabling much of anything. XP really is a pretty stable OS, contrary to what Microsoft booboys what you to believe.

      The biggest killer of my uptime for Windows XP has been the security updates that require a restart in order for them to be installed. If it wasn't for these, gawd knows how long my uptime would be.
    • by kfg (145172) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:47AM (#15120472)
      XP is nice and snappy and stable when you make it look like 95!

      And what's really cool is that it looks better too!

      KFG
    • The first thing I do when I install XP is disable Luna and all the graphical tweaks except for show window contents while dragging.

      Same here, and I have no reason to suspect I wouldn't do the same on Vista as well. So if Microsoft hopes taking out the CPU-sucking eye-candy will dissuade piracy, I hope for their sake they have a plan "B".

      Though, I do like ClearType. On a DVI-connected flat panel, it really does make small text MUCH easier on the eyes.
  • by RandoX (828285) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:32AM (#15120349)
    Get a pirated version and you don't need a new video card.
  • But it's not just pirates who will be blocked from Windows' fanciest graphics. The Aero display also won't be available to those who buy Windows Vista Basic, the low-end consumer version of the operating system.


    That's sort of an odd message to send, isn't it? "We think you're a software pirate. Or maybe you're just poor. Either way, you don't get the shiny shiny."
  • Does that mean 'pirates' won't need an as-powerful machine to run the next version of Windows? ;)

    but seriously, this will be as successful as their WGA attempt. It will frustrate legit windows owners more than it will put a dent on 'piracy'.

  • Two things...

    1. Haven't microsoft tried this 'validation' thing already with downloading copies of directx? That didn;t appear to work very well.

    2.I don't care what people say...windows is still expensive. If windows was more affordable to the average user, maybe piracy wouldn't be such an issue.
  • Hold up... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ViX44 (893232) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:39AM (#15120399)
    Have they ever gotten around to telling us why we want Aero-glass? First thing I do whenever I'm on a XP machine, including other peoples' because I'm rude, is disable the XP theme system and get back to something useful. I don't want the close button on a window to be large because that makes it easy to hit by accident. GUI design 101, and XP fails it hard.

    So, what makes bubble buttons and transparency effects something I should want? Is Microsoft trying to bank on GUI wiener-size competition to get people to pay hundreds of dollars for a legtimate installation of the OS?

    Oh, yeah...they're going to try to stick it in the gamer market by making everyone upgrade for DX10...which will likely only give you full performance on Trusted Hardware, just like the high-res video bunk.

    Let's hear it for Microsoft. 1) My GUI looks better than yours. 2) DX10 is so much more efficient, it almost makes up for the performance lost by binding 70% of your system resources to the GUI that looks better than yours. 3) We don't like your installation of Linux on your other partition, so we're using Oklahoma power to reach in and delete it all, and install this cool IDE device driver from StarForce. 4) You're welcome!
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:39AM (#15120400)
    Microsoft has identified reducing piracy as a key way for the company to grow its sales of Windows,

    If there were compelling reasons to upgrade, Microsoft wouldn't have to look at other means to grow their Windows' sales, the upgrade sales would carry them forward.

  • The only reason I keep a copy of Windows installed on a small partition my PC is so I can run iTunes and as I have decided to buy a MacBook pro my iTunes OS will now by OSX, obviously I'll still be using Linux as my day to day OS. I get eye candy with OSX and GLX so who honestly need Aero (or indeed Windows)? To answer my own question the only people that do still need Windows are those organisations that have painted themselves into a corner with their application selections over the years. Buying applicat
  • Corporate version? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bernywork (57298) * <bstapleton.gmail@com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:39AM (#15120406) Journal
    Umm, How will this affect corporate versions? Will the release of Vista require your computer to talk to another computer on your corporate network which then talks back to Microsoft to ensure that your copy is legitimate?

    If Microsoft starts demanding activation from corporate customers, I think things will get interesting and amusing all at the same time.
  • Still won't work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by barthrh2 (713909) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:40AM (#15120410)
    A lot (most?) of the piracy drives off of corporate copies. These typically don't call home. I can't imagine how you could force a corporation to grant internet connections for the purposes of licensing. If Vista corporate licensing still doesn't phone home, then the problem is far from solved. If they wish to force corporations to allow phoning home, they are going to have quite a stuggle getting companies to upgrade. The no-net workaround, calling in for an authorization code, is even worse when you have hundreds or thousands of computers.
    • (Note - read the whole thing before assuming I went off at the hip on this post. It's stream of consciousness, something I know is rare at /.)

      Or at least, I thought it wasn't going to until I read this list:

      http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/winvista_edit ions.asp [winsupersite.com]

      The specific line to look at is "Windows Activation Services". If this is correct, Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is going to be about the most pirated version of Windows ever.

      The original story I'd heard back when the rumors of seven different
  • Predictions? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617)
    My prediction is that someone will be clever enough to write a daemon that will intercept the "phone home" activity and provide the response that the OS requires. Add some names to the hosts file along with the appropriate challenge-response and I'm thinking that'll just about do the trick.
    • Re:Predictions? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bogtha (906264)

      That approach is pretty much guaranteed to fail. How would you spoof a Microsoft response if they take the obvious step of using asymmetric cryptography? Any crack would have to avoid the challenge in the first place or change the public key before the challenge is sent.

    • Re:Predictions? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dan Ost (415913)
      This can be prevented by the most basic cryptographic challenge-response.

      Assuming MS does it right.
    • Re:Predictions? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NullProg (70833)
      My prediction is that someone will be clever enough to write a daemon that will intercept the "phone home" activity and provide the response that the OS requires. Add some names to the hosts file along with the appropriate challenge-response and I'm thinking that'll just about do the trick.

      Not on the host system you won't. To do this you would need to run in kernel space. Now remember the announcement from a few months ago http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/23/171 9232 [slashdot.org].
      The new Windows kernel will
  • Dear Pirates, OS X [apple.com] is just as shiny as Vista, has no hard protection, and might work on your machine just as well as windows does. Welcome, come on in, we're actually in serious need of more bad boys: While you're trying out os x, you might try to port some windows games or crack some apps that haven't been cracked in 5 years, like Logic Pro [apple.com] (requires dongle) and ProTools [digidesign.com] (requires hardware) and give something back to the community :-D
    • And when you realize the shinyness of your desktop doesn't reflect it's usefulness go jump on the Gentoo bandwagon and be part of a winning team for a change.

      As much as I hate MSFT for being a monopoly and industry stiffler I hate Apple for being prima donnas.

      My Dell laptop is just fine. It's sturdy, works in both winxp and linux, has good battery life, is fast, etc, and costs much less than the standard issue G4 laptop at the time (even though my Dell has a 3yr warranty, larger battery and HD than the sta
  • Heat Wave (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:41AM (#15120423)
    How in the world are we ever going to solve Global Warming unless we stop discriminating against pirates? Sheesh!
  • by schabot (941087) <s.chabotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:41AM (#15120424) Homepage
    Have you seen screenshots of Aero Glass? It looks like the short films of a first year computer animation student http://www.activewin.com/screenshots/longhorn3/Aer o%20Glass%20-%20Contacts.jpg [activewin.com]. It is for this same reason Luna in XP gets very old very fast, and anyone wanting to get some serious work done turns it off.

    Or, did anyone consider the fact that these all look like crap because they can be turned off--they are only add-ons to the plain style that was introduced with Win95. They get in the way. Would anyone even consider turning off Aqua, even if you could. No, because it is part of the system, part of your work flow. (Disclaimer: I have Win2000, OS X and Ubuntu machines)

    Besides, as people have noted, most individuals who are installing pirated versions have computers that can't handle Areo Glass anyway. Any computer capable enough will come with Visa pre-installed, whenever that happens to be. The rest of us be thankful that we can get the garbage out of the way, even if you believe that Visa will be able to do some real work. Me, I'll keep Windows 2000, because really haven't seen any real innovation since then--it is stable and uncluttered, which is about as good as Windows can get.
  • I'll just pirate windows basic! Then there won't be any reproducussions for my thievery... except that I'd be running windows.
  • "Microsoft has identified reducing piracy as a key way for the company to grow its sales of Windows, which is already used on more than 90 percent of personal computers."

    Reducing piracy is also the most sure way of reducing the number of people using Windows.

    I find the microsoft stance on reducing piracy pretty half-hearted. If they can turn of Aero on pirated versions, they could also turn of the whole OS easily. They don't because the large market share, either payed for or not, helps keep them their mono
  • I can understand that people don't want to have their resources used up by the OS just to look pretty, but that's missing the point here. People _DO_ want to have the shiny-shiny turned on. They are upgrading because they want to see the fancy new things that Microsoft is marketing at them (See, we look just like Apple! Look at the shiny Windows OS... ooooooooh).

    So like they say, the casual pirates are going to have to either buy a real version, or way until the real pirates find a way to defeat the che
  • by fermion (181285) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:53AM (#15120511) Homepage Journal
    Today MS admitted that its market share was largely due to piracy. Rather than MS Windows being the best value for the money, it is the best widely distributed and supported free OS. A such, the MS will be adopting a new strategy in which the OS will be given away, and only support contracts and cosmetic add ons will be sold. A senior MS official was quoted as saying "Consumer have always realized that MS Windows had no real financial value, and now MS itself has come to the same conclusions. The technology in MS Windows is 20 years old, of no innovative consequence. We will focus of serving bussiness customers and leveraging the MS Office franchise to grow the company"
  • That means all we have to do is pirate Vista and we don't have to put up with the ugly, useless Microsoft angry fruitsalad UI disaster called Aero...

    ...Sign me up!
  • Microsoft has identified reducing piracy as a key way for the company to grow its sales of Window

    No, the way to reduce "piracy" and grow sales is to
    • Reduce the price of Windows when it's sold retail
    • Stop forcing people who want to upgrade from windows95 to XP to buy an upgrade to windows 98
    • Stop forcing manufacturers to (a) Not sell "naked" pcs and (b)not supply an installation CD
    • Stop abusing a monopoly position to the point where people would rather "pirate" than buy.
  • This would only be a problem if there were no alternative. The tighter they squeeze, the more fat corporate licenses will slip through their fingers.

    Is there any way we could persuade them to squeeze harder?

  • by superdan2k (135614) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:55AM (#15120535) Homepage Journal
    ...so if I were to pirate Windows (I'm speaking hypothetically as Mac OS X user), and MS knows it, they'll prevent me from using the part of the OS that sucks up system resources like there's no tomorrow? Awesome. Pirate Windows and it will run faster.
  • Product Activation completely killed the warez market for Windows XP. Seriously, why does Microsoft even try?!
  • ... If I pirate the next version of windows, the first thing I would have disabled after installation will be disabled automatically?

    Sweet.
  • by klubar (591384) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:05AM (#15120630) Homepage
    It will be interesting if MS checks whether a Mac is running an OEM version of Windows (or for that matter Office).

    As Apple isn't installing OEM versions of the Windows OS, any OEM version running on a Mac has to be illegal. The Genuine Advantage check could easily determine if the OS is running on a Mac and if the OS is an OEM version. If so, it could flag that the version is not correctly licensed.
  • by foreverdisillusioned (763799) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:23AM (#15120789) Journal
    Think about it. Microsoft can't afford to seriously crack down on piracy... not with the new Mactels, not when distros like Ubuntu are making such giant strides for Linux noobs everywhere. At the same time, they do want to prevent piracy of their OS from becoming (more) mainstream. Hence, they allow us the ability to pirate their core OS, while blocking all of the glitter. We might not care about the glitter (though I must say I don't understand why everyone here prefers to look at gray on gray all day. Yes, XP on default is Fischer Price, but that's a hell of a lot better on the eyes than gray on gray), but your average consumer does. Your average consumer won't give a shit about the techincal advances of Vista; they'll just want the eye candy. Your average consumer is also the least likely to want to jump ship to something that's harder, less flashy, and/or less compatible with their favorite software.

    So, Microsoft is putting the squeeze on those customers they know won't jump ship by leaving out the glitter, thus reducing their incentive to pirate, while simultaneously leaving the door open for the tech-savvy (who are generally much less impressed by glitter) to pirate Vista-sans-glitter, thus reducing their incentive to jump ship to OS X or Linux.

    Too bad it's all going to fail miserably. I've got $1000 that says Vista-with-glitter will be pirated within the first month. Any takers?
  • Stick with Win2K? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:37AM (#15120885)
    I don't think Win2K has any activatation cr@p. And none of this home-version vs pro-version vs other-version, stuff either.

    It will run practically everything that XP will run, and does not have that cartoon interface by default. Win2K also takes slightly less resources. I also think Win2K works well with Samba.

    My guess is: it will probably be supported by hw/sw vendors for a few more years, at least.

  • by Aero (98829) <erwin71m&gmail,com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:52AM (#15121013)
    Since when was I going to be "available" to pirates in the first place??? Guess I need to go into hiding before the next Talk Like A Pirate Day...
  • by courtarro (786894) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:24AM (#15121295) Homepage
    I want to respond to all the comments that reduce Aero to a simple extension of the goofy Luna theme from XP. Aero is not a skin; it is a completely different way of conveying GUIs to the user. Everyone knows by now that it's rendering the "eye candy" parts of the system with the graphics card in 3D mode - that's Big Deal A, which I see as a big feature but everyone has committed themselves to discounting. However, what seems to be missed is Big Deal B: rather than every component of each program's UI being rendered as bitmaps, it is now possible to build your entire interface as a vector.

    This means that you'll no longer have Windows' ugly "Large Fonts" mode for high-dpi monitors (like those on a laptop that display 1600x1200 in a 14" LCD) - rather, you'll simply tell Windows the DPI of your monitor and it will be able to scale the entire system UI to fit - from icons to text to graphical elements in the GUI. Instead of having to choose between a) everything being really small, b) using a lower, non-native resolution that causes your LCD to become blurry, or c) putting up with "Large Fonts" mode, you will now simply enjoy the same-sized interface but with greater clarity.

    This seems like a minor point, but it removes a huge barrier that, in my opinion, has plagued applications since day 1: dependence on pixel size. This is the most important aspect of Aero, and it really is something MS can be proud of if they pull it off. Licensing, pirating, and "activation" issues aside, the Aero interface in Vista will be something that every teenage girl and geek alike will want, in the end. It will make our computing experience just a little bit better.

    Check out this video if you want to understand why Aero really is something important: http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=1146 94 [msdn.com]

    Vector icons: http://www.iconbase.com/iconbase/aero-eps.html [iconbase.com]

    • "rather, you'll simply tell Windows the DPI of your monitor and it will be able to scale the entire system UI to fit - from icons to text to graphical elements in the GUI."

      Isn't this pretty much what X Windows and OSF/Motif and Display PostScript and so forth were doing in the early 1990s?

      Why on earth should that require any more graphics processing power than is available in the humblest modern CPU?
  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:26AM (#15121312) Homepage Journal
    But it's not just pirates who will be blocked from Windows' fanciest graphics. The Aero display also won't be available to those who buy Windows Vista Basic, the low-end consumer version of the operating system.

    So for about two, maybe three weeks "pirates" won't get Aero but the honest guy can't afford to pay full price never gets it?

    Yep, that sounds like the M$ I know and love...

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